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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Something We Can All Agree On

Jaques Chirac is a threat to world security.

He's also the biggest obstacle to American and European reconciliation.

His foreign policy is reckless and selfish. His domestic policy is hard-headed and hypocritical.

Yesterday, after thousands of French businesses signed contracts worth $5 billion with the Chinese government, Jaques Chirac called on the European Union to lift its arms embargo on China.

For the E.U. to do so would be a mistake-- for France, for Europe, for China, for America, and for the world. And I find it hard to believe that Jaques Chirac doesn't know it.

The ban came into effect 15 years ago, shortly after the Tianenmen Massacre in 1989.

Over the past ten years especially, China has made exceptional progress as a country: going from a protected economy to one of the world's most open markets, joining the WTO, and winning a bid to host the Olympics in 2008. Economically and diplomatically, China is heading the right direction.

Regrettably, gains have failed to come in the area of human rights, as evinced in the high level of political repression that occurs on the mainland and has begun to show it's ugly head in Hong Kong.

And distressingly, China continues it's beligerent rhetoric against semi-independent Taiwan.

China does NOT need more weapons which it would surely use to threaten Taiwan, a U.S. ally. They are already reportedly pointing hundreds of missles at the island already. China has no other real threats in the region.

Please remember that according to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, The United States is legally (and, I would argue, morally) obligated to intervene militarily in any attack on Taiwan.

It's clear what Chirac wants: A multi-polar world order where other powers (notably France) balance the United States. His policy in the E.U. of scolding new member countries as "little children who ought to do what they're told" and of creating a coalition of powerful E.U. countries to push ahead with federalism shows that he wants to bring France (and not the E.U.) back to the level of prestige and influence it possessed hundreds of years ago. By arming China to the teeth (i.e. enough to overwhelm the United States), Chirac believes France would gain a world ally with the power to acts as it pleases without any repercussions.

In endorsing an end to the embargo, Chirac is playing a dangerous game. He's making two dangerous gambles: first, that China won't try to overtake Taiwan militarily with these new weapons and second, that if they do the U.S. will feel too overwhelmed to take action.

Although number one is a smart bet, it's nowhere near "a slam-dunk" (--not even a George Tenet one). More aggressive Chinese rhetoric is leading to a more restless Taiwanese population who want their independence. President Chen Shui-bian who favors independence, was recently reelected: something the Chinese are none too happy about. There is still great tension in the region.

Number two is a bad bet. The world loses out either way. Americans won't stand for China trouncing on Taiwan's flourishing Democracy, I don't care who's president. But even if he were right, the sacrifice he's willing to make is startling: Taiwan's democracy.

But considering Chirac's proclamation that France would not help in Iraq no matter what is evidence that Chirac will even gamble chaos in the Middle East for a chance to counterbalance the U.S. No price is too high to regain France's old prestige-- and power.

The optimists' view I suppose, would be that he knows the European Union will decide not to lift the arms embargo, and made that statement just to get $5 billion for his French businesses.

Either way he's a sleazebag. And dangerous.


Blogger Rob said...

Have you heard about the anti-Kerry documentary Sinclair Broadcasting is planning to air 2 weeks before the election??? This is why I can't fucking STAND corporate media. I don't care WHICH candidate this movie is about; you can't create this kind of
bias in mass-media. It's just plain fucking INSANE to me... This is plain designed to shape public opinion 3 weeks before the election, and it's funny that Bush is behind in the polls right now. This is so utterly low (and yes, I would say the same thing if it were against
Bush. I am, if anything, impartial when it comes to applying logic.)

10/12/2004 03:23:00 AM  

Blogger Andrew said...

I agree with Rob. It is getting to a point where the media is not a source of impartial news, but a place to go to get reinforcement for one's own beliefs. Where are we to get the truth?
I'll choose the LA Times and the New Yorker and think they tell the truth (but I know they are biased). A conservative might choose Fox News, think its fair and know its not.
To get the real news in any form you have to lie to yourself.
Ok, I am rambling....

10/12/2004 06:27:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Thanks for commenting guys.

Yes Rob, I have heard, and I think it's outrageous. For those who haven't heard you can read about it here. I also heard there's a boycott being planned. If anyone hears the names of the sponsors responsible for this travesty, please let me know.

So utterly low. . .hmmm. You know, I would expect as much from the Bush campaign. Is it lower than push-polling people with the question: "Will you vote for John Kerry even though he'll raise your taxes?" Is it lower than the "Swift-Boat-Veterans for Truth" shit? Just be ready. Rove has got something up his sleeve for election week-- it's not going to be pretty.

Corporate Media-- exactly. Visions of Silvio Berlusconi dancing through my head. You think they'll repeal that part in the constitution to make Arnold President? How about Rupert Murdoch?

"the media is not a source of impartial news, but a place to go to get reinforcement for one's own beliefs"Indeed. No need for communications directors or "spin rooms" any more. Each party has it's own "spin network," "spin newspaper," "spin periodical," etc. Oh what a tangled web we weave. . .

The key is to know your media outlet's bias: I get a lot of BBC and CNN, and I watch EuroNews. The Economist is usually upfront about its biases. I know the Detroit Free Press is supposed to be liberal, and the News conservative. The New York Times is supposedly tilted way left, but I don't find it so. Sometimes I think Maureen Dowd is the only voice for truth in this world. . .

Here in Poland I really miss PBS. I can get NPR on the computer.

Damn. Now I'm rambling.

10/12/2004 09:55:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

I tend to overuse elipses. . .and-- hyphens.

--Get used to it. . .

10/12/2004 10:07:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Well, it's a start. If you want to do something about Sinclair Broadcasting Group's gross misuse of its affiliates, please sign the petition here.

10/13/2004 01:29:00 AM  

Blogger Rob said...

Anyone know if Dan Rather still has a journalism job? Is he mopping floors at the local Denny's yet? I once read that "facts are colored by the people who present them," meaning that interpretation and bias tend to change and distort ideas. If that be the case, then the mass-media is coloring them green -- the color of their corporate profits. We need to somehow fix this fucked up situation we have. I heard from a friend that Fox News received awards for their news channel....are you kidding me? That channel is like MTV for adults. It is so sensationalistic it makes me sick to my stomach. I'll stick to PBS. Don't believe your television.

10/13/2004 07:18:00 AM  

Blogger Rob said...

oh, and found this site:


have only checked out the surface, but looks interesting.

10/13/2004 07:21:00 AM  

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